The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will expand the targets of its water inspections to include housing communities with more than 100 households and food courts at department stores starting next year, officials said yesterday.
Of the reservoirs and water storage tanks at 11,094 nurseries, schools, hospitals and government agencies sampled by the EPA this year, 2 percent contained amounts of chlorine residue, E. coli and coliform bacteria at higher than acceptable levels. This was lower than the 5 percent found last year.
According to Yuan Shao-ying (袁紹英), deputy director of the EPA's Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substance Management, most of the contaminated reservoirs and water storage tanks are located underground, which makes it very easy for rainwater, sewage and oil to flow in or infiltrate from cracked reservoir walls.
In addition, mixing tap water with underground water and then allowing water reserves to remain longer than two days in the tank will also make the chlorine residues fade and cause the multiplication of bacteria, Yuan said.
To better protect the quality of drinking water, the EPA plans to spend an extra NT$10.5 million (US$314,000) in expanding inspections to food courts at railway stations, MRT stations, hotels, department stores and shopping malls, as well as housing communities with more than 100 households next year, Yuan said.
The EPA is expected to sample 12,000 establishments from this category, he said.
He suggested that people clean or maintain the reservoirs or water storage tanks at their homes every six months to ensure the safety of drinking water.